Domestic violence and abuse
Please note: In July 2017 HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). Inspections carried out before July 2017 may continue to refer to HMIC.
Police response to domestic violence and abuse
Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse
In September 2013, the Home Secretary commissioned HMIC to conduct an inspection on the police response to domestic abuse. We were asked to report on:
- the effectiveness of the police approach to domestic violence and abuse, focusing on the outcomes for victims and whether risks to victims of domestic violence and abuse are adequately managed;
- lessons learnt from how the police approach domestic violence and abuse; and
- recommendations in relation to these findings, when considered alongside current practice.
To answer these questions, HMIC inspected all the 43 Home Office-funded police forces in England and Wales. We interviewed senior and operational leads, and held focus groups with frontline staff and partners. We carried out visits to police stations (which were unannounced) to test the reality of each force’s approach with frontline officers, and collected data and reviewed files.
We also spoke to 70 victims of domestic abuse who took part in focus groups throughout England and Wales (and a number of other victims in one-to-one interviews), and surveyed over 500 victims online. We also surveyed nearly 200 professionals working with victims of domestic abuse.
Our report, ‘Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse’, found that, overall, the police response to victims of domestic abuse is not good enough and forces need to take decisive action to rectify this. You can download the national report below, along with individual reports for each police force.
Get the reports
Four forces were subject to revisits: Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The revisit reports for Gloucestershire and Greater Manchester are published alongside the original reports, via the link below. At the time of the initial inspection report in March 2014, Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary had already been subject to a reinspection.
Increasingly everyone’s business: A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse
Between June and August 2015, as part of its PEEL: Effectiveness inspection programme, HMIC visited every police force in England and Wales to assess the progress they had made in responding to and protecting victims of domestic abuse since we published ‘Everyone’s business’.
The findings from this inspection are published in the national thematic report, Increasingly everyone’s business. This shows that the police service has acted on the messages of Everyone’s business, and now sees tackling domestic abuse as an important priority. This is resulting in better support for and protection of victims. However, HMIC found there are still a number of areas for improvement in the way the police respond to, support and protect domestic abuse victims. We make a series of recommendations to ensure that the momentum for change demonstrated so far continues at pace.
Get the report
A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse
As part of our 2016 PEEL effectiveness inspection, we assessed all 43 Home Office-funded forces in England and Wales on the improvements made in their approach to domestic abuse.
We reviewed the findings of our 2014 and 2015 inspections, and assessed the progress that forces had made on implementing their action plans.
As we have done in previous years, the majority of this year’s inspection was devoted to carrying out ‘reality testing’ in forces. This process involved our inspection teams making unannounced visits to departments in police forces, including the:
- control room;
- intelligence and response teams;
- investigation units;
- domestic abuse specialist teams; and
- victim support arrangements.
Our inspection teams were supplemented by experts in the field of domestic abuse. These included public protection specialists from police forces and domestic abuse practitioners from voluntary and community sector organisations.
Get the report
If you are, or someone you know is, a victim of domestic abuse or violence, find out how to report domestic abuse and where to get help.